Mere Atheism

I've been an atheist since I was sixteen. As I write this blog entry, I'm now twenty. That means I've spent four years of my life as an atheist, which is just fine by me because I think atheism has provided me with a certain intellectual and creative freedom that I wouldn't have been able to get in the Christian faith I followed beforehand.

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against Christians. I've come to the point where I strongly disagree with a lot of the religious requirements of the Bible, especially those presented in the Old Testament, but I have nothing against the people who actually believe in the book. Most of the Christians I've met have been decent people, or at least trying to be decent, which I think counts for something, and I'm yet to meet a Christian who takes every word of the Bible literally.

I don't think there's any one point where I can definitely say, "Yes, this is the moment I became an atheist". However, if I was going to attribute my atheism to any one thing, I think it'd be 101 Questions You Asked About Islam by Mehmet Ozalp, a book I borrowed from my school library when I was sixteen.

When I borrowed the book out, I already had a lot of questions about my faith that nobody could answer adequately, so I guess it's not entirely fair to pass all the blame onto a Muslim man who wrote a book one time that I happened to have read in high school. But Ozalp's book did raise more questions than anyone I knew at the time or known since could adequately answer, so reading 101 Questions You Asked About Islam was a worthwhile effort for me.

I think the one thing that Ozalp included in his book that eventually tipped the scales for my journey into atheism was a very simple claim. He wrote that Islam is the only faith which satisfies both the intellect and the spirit, which is a claim I'd like to dispute but this isn't the time for that. See, the people who were in a place of spiritual authority over me--the Christian educator at my school, the local clergy--all claimed that Christianity was the only religion that satisfies both the intellect and the spirit.

This is something I wasn't able to satisfactorily come to terms with in my own mind. I couldn't find a satisfactory answer to Ozalp's claim that would have allowed me to comfortably believe the Christian claim. It was a paradox, because 101 Questions You Asked About Islam was a fairly simple and well thought-out book; an easy introduction to Islam. That was part of the book's appeal to me at the time.

So, the only logical conclusion I could come up with is that either one must be lying, or they both are. Obviously the answer I eventually leaned towards was that they're both making false claims, but that was only after I did some more research on what the Bible has to say and also what the Qu'ran has to say.

And I guess that's all I have to say for now.
September 23rd, 2014 at 04:57am